March 26, 2018 Dark Beacon (Movie Review)
Perched upon a steep precipice above the sea, is this beautiful white lighthouse a beacon for tragedy, or are there some truly haunting secrets encased with the souls of its human occupants? To unravel the mystery, partake of Dark Beacon, arriving to VOD on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, thanks to Gravitas Ventures.
Pretty Amy (April Pearson: Skins series, Age of Kill 2015) steps off a bus and into a small-town somewhere on the British coast, searching for her long-lost friend. She quickly discovers that her former co-worker and one-time lover, Beth (Lynne Anne Rodgers: Diversion short 2016, Justice League 2017), is running from her tragic past and calling a stunning white lighthouse home. Here she resides with her adorable daughter, Maya (Kendra Mei: The Cliff 2017). Struck mute since the tragic death of her father, Christian (Toby Osmond: Henry VIII and His Six Wives mini-series 2016, Kaufman’s Game 2017), Maya is home-schooled by her mother in their home on the steep cliffside overlooking the sea.
When the incoming tide forces Amy to spend the evening with a less-than-thrilled Beth, it quickly becomes apparent that her former flame has undergone some radical changes and is not exactly open to discussing her haunting past. As Amy begins to see things in and around the lighthouse and Beth grows more abrasive, a story will unfold around this deep, dark sea of hidden secrets.
Clocking in at 75 minutes in-length, Dark Beacon is the second feature-length directorial offering from Coz Greenop (Demon Baby 2014) and was written by Greenop along with Lee Apsey (Making Friends short 2010, Prattle short 2013). It also stars Jon Campling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 2010, Predator Dark Ages short 2015) as the kindly Dr. Deater, and Jimmy Allen (Survivors series, Best Little Whorehouse in Rochdale 2011) as the helpful shop attendant.
Dark Beacon is billed as a Psychological Horror flick, though it reads more like a Drama/Mystery with some very slight Horror elements. It is to say that there is no real gore or horrifying circumstances herein, just some grim psychological workings. In fact, the end goal for Dark Beacon is clear but, due to some clunky positioning, the film never fully realizes that which it has set out to achieve. Which, in short, equals a film that intends to offer up a haunting tale open for viewer interpretation, but ultimately provides a story that feels a little mundane.
This is no fault to its cast, who are stellar in their roles. Pearson (Amy) and Rodgers (Beth) carry the bulk of the production and both ladies do their roles more than justice. Rodgers brilliantly communicates the myriad angles of Beth’s well-rounded and somewhat bizarre character, while Pearson is equally talented in her role as the concerned lover. As little Maya, though she speaks only one word in the entire production, young Mei is wonderful.
The biggest issues with Dark Beacon are its script – which really only requires a bit of tightening, as it rests on a somewhat tenuous foundation (why now?) – and the film’s audio-mixing. Volume levels differ somewhat from scene-to-scene, and sometimes even from character to character within a particular scene; this should be a simple enough issue to fix. On the positive, the film’s soundtrack is well-done and adds to the overall experience, and even includes a great use of Skeeter Davis’ classic, “The End of the World.”
Where Dark Beacon succeeds is in its intelligent, psychological spin on the tired ghost story, alongside stellar acting from its small cast and some truly stunning cinematography. Despite its few flaws, the film never feels cheesy or unwatchable, rather it measures up as an enjoyable viewing that, while not particularly scary, is definitely a well-done psychological twister. Artfully created and with some superb acting and beautiful scenery, Dark Beacon is an intriguing film offering. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Dark Beacon 3.5 of 5 stars.